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  • small car to tow small boat?

    I'd like to use a 2007 Corolla, rated at 1500# towing, for launching a Triumph 12'. Total weight should be around 1000, maybe 1100 tops. The towing distance itself is very short, all back roads, so my only real concern is having the traction to get back up the ramp. Any thoughts?

    Most of the ramps around here look pretty decent, ribbed concrete etc. The people I talked to at the ramps seem to think it would be okay as long as the trailer doesn't push down too much weight on the back of the car.

    Thanks - Scott


  • #2
    Re: small car to tow small boat?

    you are front wheel drive correct. as long as you have 100 lbs tongue weight you should be fine. also correct hitch. have a reciever type put on. or do it yourself. hiddenhitches.com i do my own,
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    • #3
      Re: small car to tow small boat?

      You should be just fine with that set up. Some folk seem to think you need a full size truck to tow a 12 ft boat. It is all about how you do it and how you are set up. That said you should stay within the weight limit for your vehicle. Pulling a 24ft boat with a minivan is a definite No No !!!
      sigpicMarada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

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      • #4
        Re: small car to tow small boat?

        I saw a miata the other day with a trailer hitch. the ball was at about the top of the back of the car.. No trailer though don't know what he tows or what he conected it to underneath.

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        • #5
          Re: small car to tow small boat?

          Its all got to do with the way the trailer and car are set up, I have an old Ford Pinto that I use to run around locally with my bass boat, I don't have to worry about leaving it or getting it dirty. It's geared super low so it has the power to pull the weight and the hitch I made is attached to the rear unibody. It holds up to about 250 pounds of tongue weight and I have towed as much as 5000 pounds with it. The biggest drawback is stopping power and visability.
          While I wouldn't take it on the freeway with a large trailer, it does fine locally. I towed a 21' cuddy cabin home last week with it, it was heavy but I simply took my time and planned my stops in advance. The boat weighed in at about 2200 lbs.
          I'm not saying it was safe, but it was one of those cases where if didn't take it then I wouldn't have gotten it. I didn't have the option of going home to get my truck to tow it. I was actually surprised at how well it did, I was able to stop and maneuver it with no problems. Although I am sure a panic stop would have been ugly.

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          • #6
            Re: small car to tow small boat?

            I pulled a 14 ft. Klamath with my VW Rabbit for years. Then I bought a Mazda pickup with automatic transmission. It wouldn't handle it. I wouldn't exceed the manufacturer's tow rating.
            My wife catches more fish than I do.

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            • #7
              Re: small car to tow small boat?

              With FWD if your having a traction problem going up the ramp a couple of good eaters sitting on the hood does wonders. Be safe.

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              • #8
                Re: small car to tow small boat?

                Originally posted by kenmyfam View Post
                You should be just fine with that set up. Some folk seem to think you need a full size truck to tow a 12 ft boat. It is all about how you do it and how you are set up. That said you should stay within the weight limit for your vehicle. Pulling a 24ft boat with a minivan is a definite No No !!!
                Isn't that the truth! I know quite a few guys that would get along just fine with a small SUV or toy truck but they drive a 3/4 ton and say they need it to hual the boat around and then I see they have a smaller 14-16' fishing boat that doesn't weigh more than 1500#. I also hear these same guys complaining about gas prices.
                87' Kennedy 20' Pontoon....... well some of it is.......
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                • #9
                  Re: small car to tow small boat?

                  Originally posted by Rancherlee View Post
                  Isn't that the truth! I know quite a few guys that would get along just fine with a small SUV or toy truck but they drive a 3/4 ton and say they need it to hual the boat around and then I see they have a smaller 14-16' fishing boat that doesn't weigh more than 1500#. I also hear these same guys complaining about gas prices.
                  I dock my boat in more or less direct view of the 2 ramps at our marina. Some of the folk arrive with a huge 4 wheel drive vehicle and a 14ft aluminum boat with a 9.9 on the back. They usually make the most noise and have the most problems with everything launch and recovery related. My 19 year old son and I have been watched pulling our boat out with our front wheel drive minivan (Windstar) by the "bigger is better" brigade on many occasions and they have advised me a couple of times that "you got it in O.K. but you will never get it out on this ramp" They go kind of quiet when we winch the boat on and pull away smoothly.
                  I should start making bets with them. It could pay for my gas money !!!! LOL

                  Outfit is as described in my signature below.
                  sigpicMarada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: small car to tow small boat?

                    Yeah, it's kinda funny to see the huge trucks and SUV's towing a little tinny, then having all sorts of trouble.

                    I've owned several small aluminum boats, and have pulled them with whatever vehicle I happen to own at the time. At one point, long ago, I owned a Hillman Minx...probably the crappiest little car I've ever owned. I cobbled up a hitch for it, and probably launched and retrieved my 12' tinny fifty times without a problem.

                    A lot of folks don't realize just how light a rig like that is. My current 12-footer, weighs no more than 120 lb. The outboard on it weighs about 50 lb. Add a 3 gal. tank of fuel and a battery for the 25 lb trolling motor, and you're up to about 200.

                    The trailer? Well, when I was installing new hubs and wheels on it this year, I lifted up one side of the trailer with one hand while I put a concrete block under the axle. The whole rig, ready for towing can't weigh more than 350 lb.

                    Tow it with anything that has a hitch. No problem.

                    Sure...go ahead and laugh at my old aluminum boat. It's paid for!

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                    • #11
                      Re: small car to tow small boat?

                      Just to pile on -- when I was a kid my uncle used to pull his 16' glassmaster with a 115 Ev on a 60mi roundtrip to the lake with a Subaru Brat PU with standard trans.
                      It got the job done in a pinch, but it wasn't pretty.
                      Much of his work includes hauling heavy eqipment w/a semi-truck.

                      My brother used to pull our 19' 4.3L I/O with his 87 Toyota PU 4x4 w/2.4L. Did quite well, just kept it 60 or less on the highways. It was like having a tractor when it was around the ramp.
                      He also used a 2000 Chrysler minivan for the same boat. Made a very good tow vehicle.
                      I use a 1995 Montero with a 3.0L - also does a great job.
                      '89 19' Sunbird Corsica 4.3L OMC/Cobra



                      The Tugboat - '03 Aviator

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                      • #12
                        Re: small car to tow small boat?

                        I have no problems towing a 14" Jon (9.8Hp Nissan 4-Stroke, electric motor, battery, and gear) with a 2006 Hyundai Elantra (4 cylinder).

                        Keep the tongue weight under ~120lbs.
                        Use 12" tires if you plan on driving long distances at highway speeds.

                        Most important is the extra maintenance on the vehicle. Rotate tires, change the oil and transmission fluids more frequently during the boating/ trailering season and you won't have any issues.

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                        • #13
                          Re: small car to tow small boat?

                          Originally posted by CATransplant View Post
                          Yeah, it's kinda funny to see the huge trucks and SUV's towing a little tinny, then having all sorts of trouble.

                          I've owned several small aluminum boats, and have pulled them with whatever vehicle I happen to own at the time. At one point, long ago, I owned a Hillman Minx...probably the crappiest little car I've ever owned. I cobbled up a hitch for it, and probably launched and retrieved my 12' tinny fifty times without a problem.

                          A lot of folks don't realize just how light a rig like that is. My current 12-footer, weighs no more than 120 lb. The outboard on it weighs about 50 lb. Add a 3 gal. tank of fuel and a battery for the 25 lb trolling motor, and you're up to about 200.

                          The trailer? Well, when I was installing new hubs and wheels on it this year, I lifted up one side of the trailer with one hand while I put a concrete block under the axle. The whole rig, ready for towing can't weigh more than 350 lb.

                          Tow it with anything that has a hitch. No problem.
                          Ahhhhh the Hillman Minx !!!!! My Dad had the Singer Vouge. More luxurious version but the same base. We pulled our marine ply 12 footer around for years with that car. Ahhh those were the days !!!!!
                          sigpicMarada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: small car to tow small boat?

                            Originally posted by sgbarter View Post
                            I'd like to use a 2007 Corolla, rated at 1500# towing, for launching a Triumph 12'. Total weight should be around 1000, maybe 1100 tops. The towing distance itself is very short, all back roads, so my only real concern is having the traction to get back up the ramp. Any thoughts?
                            That sounds alot like my first rig. A little fiberglass Gaycraft with a 1963 5.5hp Evinrude. I would be shocked if it weighed more than about 500lbs unless it was full of water. Pulled it for 3-4 years with a 2000 Hyundai Elantra (4cyl Automatic). Never had a problem on the ramp. Pulled at highway speeds, 65-70mph, without a problem. Got the job done just fine.
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                            • #15
                              Re: small car to tow small boat?

                              Ahhhhh the Hillman Minx !!!!! My Dad had the Singer Vouge. More luxurious version but the same base. We pulled our marine ply 12 footer around for years with that car. Ahhh those were the days !!!!!
                              I went through a period where I owned a number of British cars. They were cheap, and I could keep them running OK. The Minx wasn't too bad, but it didn't have any baffles in the oil pan. Whenever it was a quart low on oil, the rods would rattle if you went down a hill and stopped.

                              The very worst automobile I have ever owned, though, but the cutest, was a 1958 Standard 10. They were called the Triumph 10 here in the USA, but few were imported. It was a terrible vehicle, but it was extraordinarily cute, painted baby blue with a white top. I was a single guy back then, and that little blue and white car was an absolute girl magnet. I don't know why, but it worked a treat. I kept it until the engine failed completely, and bought a 1959 Sprite...also a girl magnet.

                              Sure...go ahead and laugh at my old aluminum boat. It's paid for!

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